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SWK 857 U.S. Social Work in Historical and Cross National Perspective: Gettting Started

This guide is designed to assist find resources useful for completing the research assignment developed for this ourse

Selecting a Topic

Selecting a Topic

  • Selecting a topic is not easy and takes considerable "Re-Search" time
  • Choose a topic that interests you.  Be prepared to spend some time investigating so that you will be able to filter and then focus on what is important.
  • Do not be afraid to alter thesis statement or hypothesis throughout the writing process. This may impact your point of view and outline so adjust you paper accordingly.

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The research paper for this course will address an area of social work practice over a fifty year period and it’s relation to the development of the social work profession. (use the Books tab above for possible sources)

Preliminary Abstract:

The one-two page statement (500 - 750 words, not counting references) of topic and research plan should include: 

a. Introduction, stating why you believe this topic is important and of interest to the social work profession, and what is unique about your interpretation.

b. Statement about what you are going to accomplish in the paper, i.e., what a reader can look forward to learning about the topic.

c. Method(s) proposed for researching the topic: (what methods and sources do you expect to be used and why particular ones appear appropriate to the research question.

d. While not fully developed at this stage, present your point of view or argument.

Final Paper:

Select an area of social work practice of special interest to you. This can be a special population such as adolescent parents or persons with a specific condition or common issue, or it can be a problem area such as juvenile delinquency or child maltreatment. (This is when you will have to filter and  focus on a particular area, population, issue and time period relevant to your research) 

Trace the development of social work practice and the social work profession in your chosen area over a fifty year period,  primarily using the contemporary professional literature of the day (original sources), as well as secondary sources. This literature will consist of texts, journal articles and other archival resources, authored by social work educators, clinicians, and other professionals and reporters of contemporary practice.

In addressing the development of social work practice, you should discuss the changes which took place over the fifty years that you have selected, in beliefs about the etiology of the problem you have chosen, and the methods advocated for treating the problem as it was then understood. For example: What theories of human behavior and beliefs about individual and societal change were reflected in the approaches advocated for social treatment? How did these views change over the 50-year period under study? What role did the development of professional social work during this period play in changing how this problem and its amelioration was viewed? How did developments in the larger social environment influence these changes? 

Carefully document and support the presentation of your research on this topic with references using current APA style. Your paper must be double-spaced, with 12 point font, 1” margins. In other words, it should meet the standards of a first submission to a scholarly journal.  The text of the paper (not counting pages of references) should be between 17-20 pages. 

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Prof. Jason Byrd
208 Swirbul Library